By Nancy Lattanzi, Arts and Culture Coordinator
Sedona AZ (November 18, 2019) – Sedona, whose landscape is a work of art, has long been a locale that attracts a wide range of artists coming here for pure inspiration. Monumental red rock formations accented with pinon pine bathe in an incredible ever changing light. The scenic vistas, open fields of colorful wildflowers and the flowing waters of Oak Creek all awaken the creative muse. As a natural arts and cultural destination, we are fortunate that our numerous local galleries and shops exhibit a range of art from Native American to modern including: fine art paintings, weavings, ceramics, wood carvings and sculptures. Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau’s Visitor Center in Uptown offers a free fold out map for art lovers to follow a sculpture walk throughout the community.
Public art has been an integral part of Sedona over the years historically and continues to grow going forward. Outdoor sculpture adds visual dimension to outdoor spaces, which not only plays an essential role in bringing community together, but adds economic value. The city prides itself on supporting the arts. It is noteworthy that a Public Art Ordinance in 1992 was adopted, with the sole purpose of promoting outdoor art for locals and visitors to enjoy. An owner of any new or expanding commercial building is required to invest a percentage of money based on the current CPI, which goes into the Art in Public Places fund. When enough money accrues, a request for proposal is issued and the process for choosing public art begins.
Over the years, the city has commissioned and purchased over 75 works of art displayed around the city campus and throughout the community on City property. There are paintings, photographs, stained glass and pewter medallions on display in City buildings. As you enter Sedona from three different directions, there are welcome signs, which are part of our art collection and currently being redesigned to become more current.
As part of the Sedona in Motion (SIM) program, the city of Sedona has contracted Eagle Mountain Construction working on roadway improvements and adding two roundabouts uptown. Working with Planning and Design Engineering Consultants, Kimley-Horn, a Request for Proposal for existing artwork, or artwork that can be created in the time frame which coincides with the completion of construction, is underway.
Typically we commission art for one roundabout at a time. Since there is enough money accrued, I am excited to announce for the first time I will be sending out a Request for Proposal seeking art for 4 roundabouts along State Route 179, once the uptown roundabouts are complete. These include: Canyon Drive, Morgan Road, Chapel Road and Back O Beyond Road. Once the submissions are received, a work group is formed to review and rate each piece according to specific criteria. When each roundabout is narrowed down to the top three artists, the public will have a chance to vote as well, before determining which four artists will be awarded a contract.
Also brewing is the ever popular Artist in the Classroom program, which has been enthusiastically well received, after being launched in September. I presented the program to the Sedona Oak Creek School District staff, which is comprised of Red Rock Senior/Junior High and West Sedona Elementary School and to Sedona Charter School and Running River. There was also an Artist Orientation/Lunch, which is always a highlight, connecting many talented creative artists, each passionate about inspiring our local students. Half of the 30 artists in the program are new.
There are also a multitude of new teachers at SOCSD, under the direction of Superintendent Dennis Dearden. Mr. Dearden is on a conscious path to elevate the school system with his impressive team, as they upgrade programming and find new ways to encourage student engagement in the classroom, as well as in after school activities.
This new school year already has a large number of requests and promises to make meaningful connections, that will provide engaging projects augmenting curriculum. Studies show retention and interest in learning is higher when the arts are integrated. I look forward to a robust and stimulating year ahead, where students can be supported to learn through creativity. After all, in the words of Albert Einstein, “Creativity is intelligence having fun!”
For those interested in learning more about our Art in Public Places program, as well as our Artist in the Classroom program contact me at email@example.com.